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Re: Fort Michilimackinac

Hi Andrew,
 Here is some info I found regarding Dr Mitchell:

A pro-British Mackinac Islander who cooperated with the invaders in 1812 was Dr. David Mitchell. As an English army surgeon, he welcomed the English occupation, a fact that made him persona non grata with the Americans when they reoccupied the fort after the war. His home, one of the Island's most impressive, still stood in the 1890's. Mitchell left with the British Army and never returned although his wife continued to reside in the house. One contemporary described her as French and Sioux Indian extraction, extremely pretty, with soft and gentle manners. A post doctor at Fort Crawford is supposed to have committed suicide over an unsuccessful attachment he had for her. Apparently she did not lack for company during her days on Mackinac Island.

Here is more info on the fort:

The mainland Fort Michilimackinac (in current Mackinac City), which the British took from the French in 1761, was poorly placed. Although built close to the water, which made it easy to provision, the flat ground around the fort made it difficult to see landward. The shifting beach sand piled in mounds near the blockhouses to afford excellent enemy cover. The wooden structures dated from the 1740's required constant maintenance. 

When the American Revolutionary War spread westward in the late 1770's, Lt. Governor Patrick Sinclair, the commandant, looked to Mackinac Island as a new fort site. 

In the fall of 1779, Sinclair spent 3 days examing Mackinac Island. He found great numbers of beech, maple, and cedar trees, as well as limestone outcroppings which could be used for building construction. The soil was suitable to growing vegetables, and there were convenient springs. Most important were the high bluffs which offered a strategic military position. Sinclair sent a sketch  of the harbor and high ground in a letter to his superiors.

The Island was purchased from the local Chippewa Indians for L5000 in New York Currency. Four local chiefs signed the deed, and ownership was transferred to His Majesty. 

Though the book doesn't mention it, I've told the fort was built by a Scottish Highland Regiment in the British Army.

You could probably contact the Chamber of Commerce on Mackinac Island to purchase this book, " Mackinac Island, It's History in Pictures" by Eugene T Peterson. I loaned another book to my sister which has 9 out of 12 chapters about Governor Patrick Sinclair, "Fort Michillimackinac During the War of 1812". 

If you ever get a chance, you should go there. Its really relazing, no cars only horse and buggies or bicycles. Many large victorian mansions, bed and breakfasts, and old hotels, even a few new resorts. The back of the Island is a forest with bike and hiking trails. Many cemeteries and natural rock formations.

Julie Sinclair Hedrick

>>> Andrew Mitchell <mitch@pixie.co.za> 03/19 3:19 PM >>>

Hi there.

I'm quite fascinated with your correspondence about Sinclairs at Fort Michilimackinac, which I spotted on the Sinclair Clan chat list.  

Incidentally, my mother was born Sinclair and I'm working on Kennett Sinclair (Royal Navy) born near Inverness ca. 1750.  Any knowledge of the crest of the Sinclair swan and the motto "Fight"?
I am looking for any information on Fort Michilimackinac.  My particular interest is one Dr David Mitchell (who was probably a kinsman born co. Londonderry, Ireland, ca. 1740), who was serving as Military Surgeon at Fort Michilimackinac in 1791.  All I know of him is that in 1791 his daughter Louisa was married to James Matthew Hamilton of Tollynakill, co. Down, an Ensign with the 5th Regt. Foot (The Northumberland Fusiliers).  This marriage ceremony was performed by the commanding officer of the 5th Regt. and was repeated in August 1792 in the Freemasons' Lodge at Newark in Upper Canada.

I understand from an Internet enquiry that Fort Michilimackinac is at Mackinaw Island, in Upper Canada, in what is now part of the U.S.A., near Chicago and Lake Michigan.

Any ideas as to where I might find out more about Fort Michilimackinac marriage or this Mitchell family?

(My own Mitchell forebears hail from Killymallaght, co Londonderry, and there was a Masonic Lodge at KiIlymallaght, so there may well have been a masonic connection.  I have a copy of a letter dated 1826 signed by a probable kinsman Robert Mitchell who was in charge of this Lodge at this time.)

Kind regards and many thanks

Dave Mitchell


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